Smart Links 28 January 2012

Commentary on China’s capitalism, some of the women in the room, the high cost of university and college, Occupy, and what Harper was getting at in Davos, maybe.

The Economist has added a China section joining Britain and the United States as the only countries so examined. Will it become remembered as one of the great reverse indicators in publishing history? It doesn’t help that we are reminded about how influential the Communist Party is in the country’s economy.

Economist -- The long arm of the state
Where’s the party?

The symbolic women at the State of the Union address.

New Yorker -- The State of the Union: Three Women
There were three men in front of the room for the State of the Union address on Tuesday night—President Obama, Vice-President Joseph Biden, and Speaker of the House John Boehner—and men made up the great majority of the chamber.


New Yorker -- The Good Wife
Can Callista Gingrich save her husband?


The key to sustaining intergenerational mobility particularly in a country so dependent on immigration is world class education outcomes paid mostly by the community. The experiment with making students and their families bear a higher and higher percentage of the cost of education is failing us.

Vancouver Sun -- Break down financial barriers to higher education
For many grade 12 students, spring is university application season. In Western Canada, youth living in families with an annual income over $100,000 are still more than twice as likely to attend university than youth with family income under $25,000.


About 50% of Canadian university students graduate with no debt, the other half graduate with an average of $26,000.


Pfd below – Paid in Full 2012

Where next for Occupy?

New York Review of Books -- What Future for Occupy Wall Street?
Less than a week after the tenth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center towers, Occupy Wall Street protesters set up camp in Zuccotti Park across the street from the site that had become known by the military phrase “Ground Zero.”

So what did Harper say in Davos?

National Post -- John Ivison: Harper’s pension-reform speech at Davos missing key details
The Harper government scuttled into damage limitation mode Friday, after the Prime Minister’s speech in Davos in which he promised “necessary” changes to Canada’s retirement system.

Paid in Full 2012.pdf2.88 MB
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Twin Virtues: Inequality of Outcomes & Equality of Opportunity©

Twin Virtues

Ultimately, the most successful societies find the balance between the twin virtues of inequality of outcomes and equality of opportunity.

The new politics must marry the twin virtues of unequal outcomes and equality of opportunity.

When too few get too much everybody loses.

Feminism is about women living their lives on their own terms, marshalling the resources of the society to make that possible, and men embracing this as vital to a successful society and their own liberation.

Can it be that striving for equality of opportunity however imperfect the process not only benefits the individual but also creates benefits for the society that are unintended but wonderful?

Economics must be a 'moral enterprise' as much as politics claims to be. Economic outcomes need to be framed in terms of right and wrong not just efficiency if only because these often align in surprising ways that are good for society and the economy.

My vision of Canada is that any Canadian child from a family of limited circumstance can expect to have a chance at lifetime of unlimited opportunities.

Free trade is a wonderful thing. Time and time again economists have proven that free trade creates enormous wealth for each country 'on the whole'. Historians have shown that free trade is usually associated with rising political, social and cultural liberty. The perennial problem is that free trade always creates tremendous disruption for thousands even millions of individuals often concentrated in one geography, and where the state is idle, not investing in best in class instruments of social justice, free trade can be a permanent ticket out of the middle class, down, not up.

Tax policy should be founded on the principle of generating steady tax revenues sufficient to maximise environmentally sustainable economic growth in order to fund fair government.

Public policy should be designed to decrease inequality before the law and increase equality of opportunity.

Capitalism is not the problem; the problem is what we do with capitalism.

Content is always more difficult to argue than conspiracy.

Let the state regulate and the market operate (most things).

Welfare strategies are best designed as a hand up, not as a hand out.

Political debate should not be fact free fighting.

Explanation lasts longer than eloquence.

Always favour empowerment over dependency.

The most enduring public figures are embraced for the causes they fought for and not the concept of themselves they hoped others would remember them by.

Find your voice and don't be the echo of somebody else.

It is possible to operate on two different levels: the practical, cautious and conservative; and the realm of ideas, open, free, and radical.